Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
James Young Commitment (to UK) May Open the Door For Other Schools to Recruit Wiggins
James Young’s recent commitment to Kentucky may have emboldened other college programs to recruit Andrew Wiggins harder, Wiggins’s high school coach told SNY.tv.
“Obviously, with James Young right now as a kid that’s already committed to Kentucky in that ’13 class, maybe some of these schools feel a little bit more confident now,” Huntington Prep coach Rob Fulford told SNY.tv Tuesday morning.
“I think the other schools kind of feel they have a shot now, I guess.”
The 6-foot-6 Young is a shooting guard out of Michigan who committed to Kentucky Oct. 11. He followed the Harrison twins, Aaron and Andrew, in John Calipari’s blockbuster class that also includes power forwards Marcus Lee and Derek Willis .
Because Young and Wiggins are both wing players, schools like North Carolina, Kansas, Ohio State and Syracuse may now have added motivation to recruit the player most everyone agrees is the best non-NBA player in North America.
Still, Fulford said Wiggins is so unselfish, competitive and confident in his own abilities, that he wouldn’t necessarily rule out Kentucky simply because they have added other talented wing players.
“No, Andrew’s an extremely unselfish palyer so I don’t know that that would have a determining factor on his school choice, as to what guys are there or what guys aren’t there,” Fulford said.
Calipari was at Huntington to see Wiggins the day the Harrisons committed. And Fulford reiterated that Wiggins still could potentially play with the Harrisons and Young, in what one NBA Director of Scouting told SNY.tv would be the greatest recruiting class ever.
“Obviously, it’s not like they all can’t play together,” Fulford said. “I think some of the other schools maybe feel like they have a window now.”
He added: “It takes certain personalities to be able to coexist like that. Obviously, Andrew is one of those guys who can do that because he’s fairly unselfish.”
As Scout.com reported in an extensive story Monday, Wiggins says he wants to be recruited by additional schools and doesn’t want everyone to assume he will land at either Kentucky or Florida State, the alma mater of his parents.
“He personally has never said it’s down to those two,” Fulford said. “I think it was just they were the perceived leaders, and it was Florida State obviously because of his parents’ situation and it was Kentucky because they were really the only other school actively recruiting him.”
Carolina head coach Roy Williams is due in to watch Wiggins today (Tuesday) and Kansas assistant Kurtis Townsend is expected Thursday.
“Andrew’s always said that it’s not just down to those two [Kentucky and Florida State],” Fulford said. “I don’t think anything’s really changed on his end. I think it’s maybe the perception of the coaches at the other schools kind of changed.”
He added: “I don’t think that’s anything really new. [Andrew’s] kind of said that from day one. It’s really just schools haven’t wanted to compete against Kentucky, to be quite blunt.”
It remains unclear whether Wiggins will remain in the Class of 2014 or reclassify to 2013, which has made recruiting him somewhat complicated for many schools.
“I think obviously schools don’t know how to recruit him,” Fulford said. “Is he a ’13, is he a ’14? I think that puts a little bit of pressure on the schools to figure out what angle to go at.”
Aside from Kentucky and Florida State, North Carolina has been the most consistent with Wiggins.
“They’ve been probably the most consistent of the other group,” Fulford said. “They’ve called quite a bit. They call and check on him. Coach Williams was set to come in early in the period. Obviously, he has health issues so this is just the first chance he’s had to come out. But they were planning on coming anyway.
“Carolina has consistently been there.”
Asked if Carolina has been there the most outside of Kentucky and Florida State, Fulford said, “Yes.”
Kansas, meantime, is another school that has piqued Wiggins’s interest. They are the national runners-up and consistently have an elite program under coach Bill Self.
“I think Kansas is coming in on Thursday,” Fulford said.
Ohio State and Syracuse are also on Wiggins’s radar.
“Ohio State was set to come down last week,” Fulford said. “The guys had a field trip so they weren’t in, so I think [assistant coach] Chris Jent was going to try and reschedule this week.”
Syracuse, meantime, has landed a pledge from Wiggins’s CIA Bounce teammate, St. Benedict’s Prep point guard Tyler Ennis.
Ennis previously told SNY.tv he’s working on recruiting 2013 forwards Jermaine Lawrence and Beejay Anya and 2014 forward Chris McCullough to Syracuse, but he’s also close with Wiggins.
“Those schools have kind of all started picking up over the last couple weeks,” Fulford said. “But it was kind of [after] James Young’s decision.”
Fulford said no visits — official or unofficial — have been planned to these schools.
“Right now he can’t till we figure out what class he’s gonna be,” Fulford said. “He hasn’t taken his test [SAT]. Right now he’s a junior officially.”
Wiggins still must meet with his parents to determine once and for all if he wants to reclassify to 2013, which, in turn, would make him eligible for the 2014 NBA Draft.
“I just don’t think he wants to decide,” Fulford said.
“Obviously, we’ve given our opinion. We think from a basketball standpoint, he doesn’t need another year, but that’s not for me to decide.”
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Adam Zagoria is a New York Times contributor and Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.